Asset Building News Week - September 9, 2016

Highlights from this week's news stories
Blog Post
Sept. 9, 2016

News Highlights: Paid Sick Leave, Uneven Recoveries, and Online Shopping

New York City Passed Paid Sick Leave, and Guess What? It Didn't Kill Any Jobs.

A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research “provides strong evidence that implementing paid sick days has virtually no negative impact on employers. Paid sick days do, however, have a huge positive impact for workers.” The report did find that workers in different industries take advantage of policy at varying levels. Only 53 percent of workers within the leisure and hospitality industries take advantage of paid sick leave compared to about 70 percent of all other industries. “The authors suggest this is probably because restaurant workers make most of their income in tips, so having their wages recompensed doesn’t make up for a lost shift.”

For the Black Middle Class, Housing Crisis and History Collude to Dash Dreams

In a segment on All Things Considered, Ari Shapiro profiles Evelyn and Grattan Betancourt, a black couple living in Fort Washington, MD. The Betancourts live in Prince George’s County, Maryland, which is one of the richest majority-black counties in the United States. All is not how it seems, however. "[T]he reality is — and we're aware of this — that many people here, even though they've lived here many years, are fighting to save their home," says Mr. Betancourt. The same can be said of many black communities across the country, where post-recession home values have taken much longer to recover compared to white neighborhoods and the intergenerational impacts of the racial wealth gap are on full display.

Food Stamp Users Should Be Able to Shop Online

Writing for Slate, Kavin Senapathy makes the case for allowing SNAP recipients to use their benefits to purchase food online. The biggest barrier many recipients face is simply accessing the markets and grocery stores where their benefits are accepted since “SNAP users often live in food deserts or lack convenient and reliable access to transportation.” Two groups—Thrive Market and the Environmental Working Group—have taken up the cause, but Senapathy cautions that it may be to push an agenda not actually help those receiving SNAP.

News in Brief: Human-Centered Storytelling, Transparency Not Secrecy, and More

  • The Atlantic’s Juleyka Lantigua-Williams interviews Larisa Dinsmoor, a public defender in California, on the Orange County Community Court’s more holistic approach to helping the homeless.  
  • With the help of old fashioned storytelling, the Washington Post’s Theresa Vargas captures how difficult it is to live on minimum wage.
  • In Mother Jones, Michelle Chen reports on the labor laws and “sheltered workshops” that allow employers to pay workers with disabilities sub-minimum wages.
  • As part of an ongoing series about work and identity in America, the Atlantic’s Adrienne Green interviews Mohamed Zaker, a janitor at Harvard University.
  • More than 7 million childless Americans are taxed into poverty every year. Slate’s Jordan Weissmann calls for expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit in order to right this wrong.
  • The people over at Vox continue their coverage of the impacts of the gender pay gap by explaining how inflexible work hours put women at a disadvantage.
  • In order to close the pay gap, policy should focus on increased salary transparency not secrecy writes the Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell.
  • In a recent study, the Urban Institute “found that simple rules of thumb about credit card use can be an effective and inexpensive way to help people make better financial decisions.”
  • What should the next administration do to restore the middle class? It’s actually fairly straightforward according to the Atlantic’s Gillian White.
  • According to recent survey, the Bay Area housing crisis is resulting in a public health crisis. “The health outcomes...can be seen in rising numbers of hospitalizations for hypertension, mental health emergencies, asthma attacks, and numerous other illnesses that shorten people's lives,” reports East Bay Express’ Darwin BondGraham.
  • Quoctrung Bui documents how incomes have changed across the United States over the past few decades for the New York Times


Reducing Poverty and Increasing Opportunity: Envisioning the Next 20 Years | Urban Institute | September 13, 2016

Housing in America: Preview Screening of “America Divided” with Norman Lear | Brookings Institution | September 14, 2016 

In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State | American Enterprise Institute | September 19, 2016

The 20th Anniversary of Welfare Reform: Lessons and Takeaways | Brookings Institution | September 22, 2016

Retirement Security in the New Economy: Access and Guarantees | Brookings Institution | September 23, 2016

Assets Learning Conference | CFED | September 28-30, 2016